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Planning for a new job: what to do when it’s time to move on

8 September 2020

As our working lives adjust to everything 2020 has thrown our way, many of us will be heading back to the office and picking up stalled projects. For others, autumn will see us braving the job market to find our next opportunity. Whether you’ve been made redundant, decided to change roles, or are moving on to develop your career, here are some tips to help make your next step your best move yet.

  1. It’s ok to feel emotional. Shock, rejection, a sense of loss. These are all normal responses to being made redundant. And if you’ve decided to leave on your own accord, you might still feel sad about going or uncertain you’ve made the right move. Talk about it with friends and family. If you feel you need more support, organisations like Mind are here to help.
  2. Look forward. Whatever happened in your previous job, remember, you decide what happens next. Try to see the opportunity in uncertainty and keep your focus on the things you can control. Speak to other people who’ve been made redundant or recently changed jobs. Find out what they did to overcome challenges and decide their next move.
  3. Try to stay on good terms with your employer and ex colleagues. Wherever possible, keep those bridges intact – even if you don’t feel like it. You may need a reference and they could help you find your next role. And don’t feel you have to abandon friendships just because you no longer work together.
  4. Know your rights. Check with Citizen’s Advice that you’re getting what you’re entitled to, such as pay in lieu if you’re not working your notice. MoneySaving Expert also has a guide with advice on everything from benefits to how to maximise the interest on redundancy payments.
  5. Do some budgeting. Money worries can knock your confidence. So, try to stay in control of your finances while you’re looking for your next opportunity. The Money Advice Service has some good tips on budgeting and managing money. If you have got into debt, Citizens Advice can help.
  6. Clear your clutter. Before you start to tackle the job search, sort out your documents and folders – on and offline – and get rid of anything you no longer need. Clear non-essentials off your desk. A clean and tidy workspace does wonders for motivation.
  7. Look after yourself. You can’t look for jobs all day long. Allocate part of your day for applications. The rest of the time, focus on you. Exercise. Volunteer. Learn new things. Do you need to brush up on any work-related skills? Go online for some inspiration.
  8. Be clear about what you want. Don’t automatically go for the same role you’ve left behind. Take some time to think about what you really want to do next. Is it time for a career change? Or could you consider going self employed? List the things you enjoy, for example managing people or problem solving. Do you prefer working alone or in teams? These things may well have changed since you started your last role.
  9. Speak to people with jobs that interest you – even if you don’t feel qualified to do them right now. Have a frank chat about their working lives and what their jobs entail. Use your networks to find the people you want to talk to. Ask friends and associates, Facebook groups, Twitter and CharityComms.
  10. Invest time in identifying your skills – especially your transferable ones. Are you not applying for a role because you don’t think you meet all the criteria? Maybe you do. Write down all the skills and experience you have and how you can apply these to different roles requirements. Use these notes when you’re filling in applications.
  11. Consider a career coach or a mentor. A fresh perspective will help you step back and think carefully about your next move. A mentor or coach can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and future goals. CharityComms has a mentoring service which matches charity sector comms professionals for one-off meetings and longer-term mentoring relationships.
  12. Refresh your CV. Look at the notes you’ve made on your transferable skills. Add in any new courses you’ve taken. When you’re happy with your draft, show it to at least two or three friends or ex-colleagues. They may have ideas to add or spot any typos you’ve missed.
  13. Start searching the job sitesCharityComms, Charity Job, The Guardian, Third Sector. Keep your eye on social media too – sector specific groups and any organisations you’re keen to work with.

Good luck!

Resources and support 

Here are some links to get you started:

This is part of our career series, helping you to level up and make the most of your potential.

Image: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Sarah Myers

copywriter and editor, freelance

Sarah Myers is a copywriter, editorial consultant and creative manager, with more than 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector. She has worked in-house for Mencap and Macmillan Cancer Support, and at a charity copywriting agency. Now freelance, her clients include an extensive range of charities, professional bodies and specialist agencies. Her guide to Storytelling for Impact was published by the Directory of Social Change in 2022.